Review: Harry Skinner and Dave Saunders at Fogherty’s, Liverpool – 15 May 2008

Posted on: Monday, May 19, 2008

skinner and saunders

It is hard to believe but it is now eight years since the hugely popular blues band, The Producers, disbanded. Harry Skinner and Dave Saunders were the two leading lights of that marvellous ensemble and, thankfully, they continue to collaborate as an acoustic duo. A substantial gathering at Fogherty’s afforded the guys from Dorset the respect that they deserve and throughout the performance the proverbial pin, had it dropped, would have been clearly heard such was the level of attention.

A bouncy instrumental opened the proceedings, followed by terrific renditions of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” and Trouble In Mind”. For “Sweet Home Chicago” and “Poor Boy”, Harry switched from acoustic guitar to his recently acquired Martin resonator. “Down-home Blues” included a lovely piece of fingering as a coda, while “Diddy Wah Diddy” provided another helping of wonderful guitar work. In addition, a particularly impressive feature of the first set was “One Kind Favour”, with Harry’s powerful vocals maximising the song’s raw Delta style.

The second set kicked off with Washboard Sam’s “Somebody’s Digging My Potatoes” and a couple of Mississippi Fred McDowell numbers. Harry then returned to his resonator to deliver his own tremendous composition, “The Moneylender”. Dave Saunders, who had provided admirable backing on acoustic guitar, then switched to acoustic bass guitar on a cracking version of “My Baby Just Cares For Me” and the excellent “Ain’t No Love In The World”. The brilliant show was concluded with “San Francisco Bay Blues” and a solo rendition by Harry of the splendid instrumental, “Arizona”, the title song of the duo’s latest album.

Harry Skinner is undoubtedly one of the very best blues singers that the UK has produced. He is also a superb guitarist and an entertaining raconteur. After the show, there was total agreement among the audience that they had witnessed yet another top class blues performance, which fully maintained the incredibly high standard consistently delivered by John and Lorraine Welsh at their Liverpool venues.

Lionel Ross

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